● Orthodox Remembrance Day: March 6, May 21
● Name means: the luminous (Greek)
● Roman Empress Dowager
● Attributes: cross, nails
● Patroness: of the mines, against lightning and fire danger, for the discovery of thefts, for
the discovery of lost things
● Born around 249 in Drepanon, later Helenopolis, today Hersek, Turkey
● Died on August 18, 329 in Nikomedia, today Izmit, Turkey
Helen, a woman of renown, is believed to have been born in Drepanon, a city that was later
named Helenopolis in her honor in the year 327. She was the daughter of a pagan innkeeper, a
status that would prove to be a thorn in her side as she navigated her way through life.
Before the introduction of tetrarchy in 293 by Konstantius I, who was soon to be appointed
Emperor of the Roman Empire, Helen was disowned by her father in 289 due to her lower status,
so that he could marry Flavia Maximiana Theodora, the stepdaughter of Emperor Maximianus.
Konstantius I made his residence in Augusta Treverorum, which is known today as Trier, and
Helen also retained influence in this region.
Despite her proximity to power, Helen found herself downtrodden by the leading pagan families
of that era, fueled by their contempt of her background. However, the scheming and authoritarian
Helen, supported by the Christians, did not let this deter her in her quest to secure power. Her
ultimate objective was to remove Theodora from Konstantius I and oust her and her family to a
side wing of the palace. Helen then worked to ensure that her son would ascend to the throne.
This effort paid off when Constantine eventually became the Emperor of Rome in 306. As part of
her plan, she was able to leave her half-brothers and banish the sons of Theodora.
Later in life, at the age of over 70 years, Helen reportedly received divine instructions to travel to
Palestine to find the Holy Places and to decorate them worthily. Helen’s unwavering
determination and strong-willed character made her an exemplary figure in the history of Rome.